Politics needs to stay out of women’s personals lives. Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen is in the political hot seat because of her “She’s never worked a day in her life!” criticism of Ann Romney. Perhaps the Republican and the Democratic parties should be in their own seats for capitalizing and posturing on Ms. Rosen’s misstatement.
Taken out of context, her gaffe received an immediate response from Ann who fired back that she chose to stay home, and it was hard work. In an election year Hilary’s was an unfortunate statement that created an unexpected opening for the GOP to get into the hearts of women voters. That it has created a heated issue within the media and between GOP and Democratic camps comes as no surprise to women who have been living this discussion for decades.
What does come as a surprise is the political misunderstanding involved in this discussion. At the core is not whether stay at home moms, single and/or working moms have a better understanding of women’s issues. Once again the crux of the matter is: this is a woman’s decision, sometimes made from personal choice and more and more often out of financial necessity. There are many reasons why women choose to pursue a career while raising a family, and women have come to understand and respect each other’s choices. Mothers know raising children is hard work…many think that staying at home is harder than going to work. A working mother herself, Hilary wasn’t criticizing stay-at-home moms; she was criticizing Mitt’s reference to Ann as his expert on women’s needs. Ann wasn’t criticizing working moms but defending the career path she has chosen.
Both parties and the media have missed their mark however. Hearts of women voters will not be won by candidates’ Three Stooges antics trying to turn our decisions into political platforms. Haven’t they learned from Santorum’s failed efforts to politicize all-things female? Political camp time would be better spent in addressing the needs of working, stay-at-home, and single moms, especially those burdened with financial hardships in today’s floundering economy. Many women worry about making ends meet while raising a family and holding a job. In the powerful words of another Democratic strategist, James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid!”